Thursday, 12 November 2009

Fionn MacCool's Celtic: A feast fit for a champion

Just as writers for the Simpson's get lazy when a milestone is reached by hashing episodes together, I thought I would follow suit and compile the most influential parts of Celtic's season, that leads a path from preseason young pretenders to matured TSSL Media League Champions.

AS Rosso Roasted
25th May 2009

AS Rosso were making their debut in the TSSL Media League, but Celtic were not to be in charitable mood, placing a solid maker in the soil on the opening day, after a 5-2 victory, with a hatrick by Teague to boast. The game also marked the first broadcasting of Celtic, after a lucrative deal was struck with local studio, McGroarty Pictures. And, if you haven't become tired of seeing the highlights, the video in all its HD glory can be seen here.

Celtic continued their explosive start to the campaign the following week after the demolition of another new arrival in the TSSL media league, Trinity Park 10-1. The debutantes went on to be the whipping boys of the league, conceding a colossal 135 goals in 18 games.

Fionn MacCool's Celtic 0-3 KU Golden Oldies
20th June 2009

After going 5 games unbeaten in the league, the defeat to KU Golden Oldies brought Celtics sky high ambitions, crashing back down to earth. Such was the sobering effect of the disappointing defeat, I personally took a leave of absence from writing, taking physiological refuge for a week until I had something worthy of writing about. Which, basically explains the lack of match report for this one.

This may have been Celtics first defeat of the season, but it was also possibly the catalyst for motivation later in the season, when Celtic faced KU Golden Oldies in what was a must win game.

Sierra Stars 0-1 Fionn MacCool's Celtic
11th July 2009

After the humbling defeat to KU Golden Oldies, Celtic feeling sorry for themselves went through their roughest patch of the season, following up the 3-0 loss, with a draw against Morton 1-all, and then another defeat to Multinational. Given Celtic's self imposed high standards, training schedules were doubled and diet's strictly monitored, in the lead up to the game against old foe, Sierra Stars. After only losing two games in the league all last season, the pressure was on, and despite what the score line might suggest, this was a cracker.

Suspicion regarding Celtics finishing qualities were immediately raised, from the moment Curley had the nerve to pull out the his new orange/salmon coloured boots from his kit bag. However, after reluctantly switching back to the old familiar, more conservative white boots in the second half, Curley and Celtic soon had something to shout about.

After Celtic were awarded a rare freekick dangerously positioned on the corner of the Sierra box, the set piece was whipped in to the danger area, and Curley, with his shooting boots back on, effortlessly plucked the ball out of the air with his back to goal, pirouetted and ruthlessly smashed home a priceless goal in front of the ecstatic crowd.

The joy was short lived however, only moments after the goal, Celtic were down to 10 men. Mercier, who's must have been effected by the Salmon coloured boots, leaped like one, and tipped over the bar after Fourie was caught off his line.

The drama was not to end their though. The resulting penalty was saved by wobbly legs Fourie, whom would go on to thwart in the region of five more penalties over the course of the season. (citation needed!) The result also saw the start of a phenomenal run for Celtic, which would see them go the rest of the season unbeaten in their 12 remaining games, conceding only 6 goals.

Sierra's Fallen Stars
Fionn MacCool's Celtic 1-1 Zoomer
18 July 2009

With the effects of the Garbage strike in full swing, Celtic unfortunately had to cater for two games in one weekend. The first, was against Zoomer, which was drawn 1-1. And, while from the outside this fixture might look mundane and not worthy of mention, it gained a position amongst the elite for 3 reasons. 1, it gave birth to what would go on to be an infamous quote of the season, "Don't do a Zoomer". 2, after being the better team for virtually the entire game, Celtic were 1-0 down and staring at defeat with only minutes on the clock, until Peter McCann on his debut scored a crucial goal and rescued a invaluable point. 3, Such was the shambolic performance, the resulting, thorough, dressing down speech from manager Tibby, which at times looked like it might bring grown men to a whimpering mess, galvanised Celtic for what would prove to be unrecognizable performance against Sierra Stars the following day.

Fionn MacCool's Celtic 3-1 Sierra Stars
19th July 2009

I could go on and on at length about the 3-1 victory over Sierra's Stars, throwing superlatives at it left right and centre, but what has to go down as one of Celtic's most impressive and important wins in living memories, was overshadowed by the way the game the game ended -a left hook to the Ref's rosey red cheek. Some might argue it was a more appropriate alternative to the traditional whistle.

KU Golden Oldies 1-5 Fionn MacCool's Celtic
22nd August 2009

In terms of performance, I personally (though this has nothing to do with the brace I scored, honest!) thought this was Celtic's most complete of the season. Every individual who showed up that day, were up for the challenge, and knew this was the moment of reckoning, when a season can be won or lost. The desire was simply far stronger, and Celtic ruthlessly demolished a side that went on to be Media Cup Champions and runners up to Celtic in the league.

Fionn MacCool's Celtic 1-0 Morton

29th August 2009

If the KU game was all about attacking flair, style and taking your chances,this once was all about Celtics defensive qualities, both in terms of thwarting Morton's predictable agricultural tactics, and doing a job at the opposite end of the field, when the forwards couldn't hit a barn door.

In season pasts, 1-nil against old rivals Morton might not have been enough to secure victory, but with Celtics water tight defense, only a lucky goal against the run of play would be Morton's escape.

Celtic failed to break the deadlock, until half way though the second half, when the defense, fittingly, took matters in to their own hands. Prior whipped in a lush cross from the right, and with a devastating drilled header, Stuckmann buried the ball in to the back of the net with the keeper rooted.

In the three fixtures Celtic contested with Morton, only on one occasion did they leak a goal. The last game may not have been the prettiest, but it was another crucial three points gained at the business end of the season. If you can win without playing well, you will always been in with a chance come trophy time. That, I believe is what Sir Alex Ferguson's philosophy is built on -least that's what United have been doing for a couple of decades! I tried to go the how article without a random United jab, I tried.

Multinational 0-1 Fionn MacCool's Celtic
12th September 2009

Again, if you were looking to give some budding youngster the opportunity to experience some top clash finishing, you would have been angrily asking for a refund with this one. A messy spill over from the previous weeks lesson on how not to finish. However, that said, the goal did come from a forward, in a matter of minutes from the kick off. A few mono eye brows were raised when Fitzpatrick's name was selected in the front line, but the silver fox repaid the faith shown in him by Manager Tibby, converting Celtics first chance of the game.

Having been picked out by a cross ball pass from Bredin, which evaded Teague's stride, Fitzpatrick found him self firmly in the whites of the on rushing keeper's eyes, with glory just around the corner. When many others would have had a rush of blood to the head, Fitzpatrick kept his cool, and exquisitely rounded the keeper and finished from such an acute angle he was practically on the byline. Given the importance of the goal, and the quality of the finish, this probably goes down as my vote for goal of the season, but keep that quite from Fitz!

Celtic would go on to win their reaming two games of the season, with comfortable victories over Globe and Mail, and Zoomer, leaving them on a impressive 40 points haul from 18 games. Despite being top of the league by one point, Celtic would have to wait two more agonizing weeks before KU GOlden Oldies played their remaining game in hand, knowing that a draw would be enough to hand them the title.

And, with Morton unwittingly assigned the task of deciding the TSSL Media Champions, turned the season on its head in the dying moments of the game, coming from 2-nil down to rescue a point and hand Celtic the Championship. An unlikely hero for Celtic, but one that will now making future encounters a fraction more bearable.

So, with Celtic lifting the Championship only four years after entering the competition, it was time to once again get the tux out and rub elbows with other fellow equals, at the annual TSSL Champions Banquet.

Expensive Champagne would only be served, and drank from the Champions cup, the food would be served on a silver platter by the white gloved hand of a waiter, that has also been through vigorous "Champion" testing to ensure that only winners served the elite, and glamorous entertainment especially flown in from Vegas would bring the night to a close. In reality, I was the only pillock in a tux, excluding the wait staff, and the food and wine was equal to its $35 a head fee. We didn't stick around to see the local Downsview pop star, as celebrating the Championship over a couple of pints of shandy seemed far more inviting.

Celtic are now already full swing into the indoor winter league, but I am sure we will all look forward to what the summer has to offer. Watch this space.

Players player of the season: Colin Prior
Managers Player of the season: Travis Fourie
Top Goal Scorer: Ray Curley
Goal of the season???......Cast your votes now.

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